Howie Mandel on the set of 'Deal or No Deal'

You don't have to spin a wheel, answer trivia questions or have a complicated strategy to win a million bucks on the megahit game show Deal or No Deal. Each week, more than 15 million viewers tune in to watch contestants test their luck. With 26 models, a mysterious banker and host Howie Mandel running the show, the excitement is contagious!

The show begins with 26 briefcases, which hold different amounts of money—from as little as one penny to as much as $1 million. Contestants have no idea how much money is in each case. To start the show, they must pick the one they think contains the grand prize. Then, the player begins opening the remaining cases…one by one.

To complicate matters, an unidentified banker works against the contestants to make sure they walk away with as little money as possible. As cases are opened, the banker tries to buy them off. The players can accept the banker's deal and walk away with guaranteed cash. Or, if they're feeling lucky, they can reject the offer in hopes that the first briefcase that they chose contains a higher sum.

Nerve, instinct and intuition guide players through the game. Some walk away with thousands, while others aren't so lucky.
Michelle, a big winner on 'Deal or No Deal,' talks with Oprah.

Michelle, a contestant from Long Island, New York, says she'd never won anything in her life until she stepped onto the Deal or No Deal stage.

Unlike some players, Michelle didn't depend on a complicated strategy. She simply chose the briefcases in sequential order, starting with 1. She rejected every offer from the greedy banker, even after it topped $500,000!

Relying on her instincts, a lot of guts and a little help from her husband, Michelle sealed the deal and won a whopping $750,000—the highest payoff in the show's history!

Looking back at her nail-biting performance, Michelle says she was very stressed during the final moments of the show. "It was the most intense emotions I could ever, ever imagine experiencing in my entire life," she says.

Now that she's almost a million dollars richer, Michelle says she and her husband, who she calls her good luck charm, can start saving for their future. "We're young and we have dreams," she says. "We want to have a house that fits a family someday."

Another highlight of Michelle's game show experience was meeting Howie, an actor and comedian who's been making audiences laugh for decades. "[Howie is] incredible," Michelle says. "He's such a great guy."
Howie Mandel

Before Howie was brokering deals between bankers and game show contestants, he made a name for himself in Hollywood as an actor on shows like St. Elsewhere and a producer of the Emmy-nominated children's series Bobby's World. He even hosted his own talk show!

Now, in his latest role, Howie isn't just making people laugh. As a father and husband, he says it's nice to know that the prize money can have an affect on someone's future. "You're looking in somebody's eyes and you know what you're offering them can change their life," he says.
Oprah plays 'Deal or No Deal' with Howie Mandel.

Howie and the Deal or No Deal crew brought a special version of the show all the way from Los Angeles just so Oprah can play on her own stage! A backdrop of the Chicago skyline pulls away and 12 models are standing by with 12 cases. Oprah's ready to play—and to hopefully make one audience member $100,000 richer! "Coach her along because it's your money," Howie tells the audience.

Oprah begins by picking the case with her favorite number—8—but she has to open all the others to find out if she hit the jackpot. She starts with case 11, which to Oprah's shock, contains that $100,000 prize! "I'm sorry!" Oprah says. "I was going to pick that as my other one!"

Still, Oprah's in it to win it—an audience member can still walk away with $75,000.

Watch the nail-biting final moments!  Watch

Turning down every offer from the mystery banker, Oprah keeps fighting for that prize. "My heart's pounding," she says. "I need a tequila. I should have had a tequila."
Valerie wins $100,000.

After Oprah turns down the mystery banker's final offer of $50,000, it's time for the moment of truth. Howie opens Oprah's case and reveals…$5,000.

Disappointed that she couldn't win someone more money, Oprah asks the audience to check under their seats for a Hershey's Kiss. The person with a card that says "deal" wins the prize money. Valerie is the big winner, and she's not disappointed with her prize. "That is so cool," she says. "Beggars can't be choosers."

But that's not all! In honor of its 100th anniversary, Hershey's has an even sweeter deal for Valerie. A model returns to the stage with a briefcase containing Valerie's real prize—$100,000! "This is incredible!" says a stunned Valerie.

So what will Valerie do with the money? "My son's getting ready to go to college, so that will pay for a few years," she says.
FROM: Oprah Plays Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel!
Published on January 01, 2006


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